Summertime SAD – Summer Depression and What to Do About it!
by Erika Slater
Most people have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. It affects about 4%-6% of the U.S. population and is usually attributed to the onset of shorter and colder days. However, about 10% of people suffering with SAD get the depression in the warmer summertime months.
Summer depression, really? “Come on!”, you must be exclaiming.
Well, seasonal affective disorder is actually ‘seasonal‘ but it’s not the same kind of depression that one might have in the summer time.
S.A.D. is based on lack of sunlight, grey skies, darkness and being cooped up inside because of wintery weather. Furthermore, S.A.D. for the most part is based on times of the year devoid of color – no plants, flowers and green leaves.
Basically, S.A.D. is all about seeing and experiencing drab!
As you know, the ‘colors‘ of summer are abundant and filled with complimentary sunshine, and clear starry skies at night, so this isn’t what causes summer depression.
Then what does cause this depression?
Common Causes of Summer Depression:
Many people can’t wait until the warm weather and summer arrives, believing this will snap them out of their winter doll drums. And then the warm weather does arrive and they still feel down… a different kind of depression.
Here’s some of the more typical reasons for summer depression and what you can do about it.
Summer depression can be of a ‘situational variety‘, meaning social situations have become more apparent and they’re not invited, or they are ‘stuck’ inside doing work when they’d rather be outside enjoying the golden sunshine.
In the winter months they may have felt a feeling of ‘being trapped‘ due to inclement weather, whereas in the spring and summer months, they’re ‘trapped‘ because they have to be inside for work, family or personal functions. This can lead people to feel depressed in the summer months.
Summer depression can also occur due to lack of social activities, or not being involved and/or invited to social functions. Let’s face it, summer is the time for gatherings – parties, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, sporting events etc. If you don’t have a family, are recently separated, or don’t have a circle of friends, it can be a lonely time.
For other people summertime can add to stress levels and financial worries.
Stress can be caused due to disruption in schedules. Suddenly your children are home all day for months and looking to be entertained, or doing things all hours of the day making your home feel like a center of chaos!
College-age kids come back and seem to take over the house with extra unpacked boxes and their “college-habits.” Your routines are thrown out the window and you struggle to cope.
If you’re somebody who has a problem with body image then peeling off layers of clothes as the temperature rises can make you self-conscience of how you look, and reminds you of the weight you were going to lose or the fitness level you had planned for the summer that just didn’t happen.
Depression can also appear due to financial worries. The summer is time for vacations and summer camps and programs for children, and getting out to entertain or be entertained. Frankly, anyway you look at it expenses can shoot up in the summer and this can also add to stress levels.
Tips and Suggestions for Dealing with Summertime Depression:
So is there anything you can do to feel less depressed? Plenty as it happens and depending on what is causing your summer depression here are some tips and suggestions.
First, if the depression is severe then seek professional help. Seek out your medical doctor initially. Even if you know it will only last during the summer months this is no reason to suffer for even this brief time.
Plan out the summer months ahead so you have some modicum of control and don’t feel others or destiny are in charge. Knowing what the summer looks like well ahead allows you to spot challenges and “downtime” earlier and fill in the gaps.
Get plenty of sleep. Feeling constantly tired can lead or add to depression, and during the hot summer nights getting to sleep can be an issue for many. Insomnia is more prevalent than you probably think and here is link to an article about Insomnia – Why You Can’t Sleep and What to Do About It!
Exercise is good for you whether you have the summertime blues or not but keeping to your fitness workouts is beneficial. Go for a walk! Go after work, on your lunch break or when you have time.
The sun is an excellent source of vitamins, especially vitamin D which is great for positive mood enhancement. Also, walking causes you to swing your arms and legs and balances both sides of the brain which once more helps with enhancing moods.
Focus on an existing or new hobby. Get outside and plant your garden! Nothing beats alleviating summer depression than interacting with nature. On the topic of nature go for hikes, or visit gardens and parks. Pack a picnic and a good book, or kindle, and pamper yourself for a few hours out in the sun.
When it comes to dieting be careful. If you’re on a diet just make sure its not adding to your depression. If the diet is a chore to you then it’ll work against you and make you feel miserable. If you’re not happy how you look in shorts and T-shirt, then wear loose fitting clothes. While I always advocate eating healthy foods it should be a pleasant experience and something to look forward to.
Finally, give yourself a huge dose of self-compassion. Feeling its summer and everybody is having fun and you should be feeling great but don’t can send you into a downward spiral. Focus on understanding why you feel depressed and make small steps towards seeking professional help if appropriate and making changes to reduce those summertime blues. If you want to consider working directly with me to help you, through my online or in-office sessions, then check out my Hypnosis Services or if you’ve a specific need around this topic then contact me here.
Alternatively, you can begin your journey of help with this self-hypnosis product for Summer Depression (Reverse SAD) here >>>.
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